Thousands of road workers’ lives ‘being put at risk’

09.13 | 10 May 2018 | | 4 comments


Highways England is calling on road users to be patient if they are delayed by roadworks and to respect the road workers who are doing a ‘difficult job’.

The plea comes as the government agency reveals a catalogue of serious incidents and near misses, ranging from motorists driving into coned off areas where road workers are working – to physical and verbal abuse.

There are nearly 300 incidents each week, reported by road workers across Britain’s 4,300 miles of motorways and strategic A roads.

Of the 3,500 incidents recorded between July and September 2017, 150 were deemed ‘serious’, leading to four road workers and two motorists being injured. 

To highlight the issue, Highways England has published a video (featured) in which a driver ‘jeopardised the lives’ of road workers.

The driver was stopped at the site of road works on the A120 in Essex, but then drove at speed in an attempt to avoid Essex Police.

Highways England is reminding motorists of their responsibility while driving through roadworks, including to slow down, obey speed limits and signs – and ‘think what it would be like if you had to contend with lorries and cars driving through your place of work’.

Mike Wilson, chief highways engineer, Highways England, said: “While we plan our maintenance and improvement works to minimise inconvenience to drivers, some road closures are necessary, and ultimately for the benefit of road users.

“Drivers who selfishly and illegally ignore these traffic restrictions (to) force their way through are putting both their lives and those of our road workers at risk – all to save a few minutes on their journey.”


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    They are often deliberately programmed to turn red as you approach them when there is nothing else around to cause the driver to slow down and, having slowed down, the lights often (but not always) turn green before you come to a halt.

    Some think this helps road safety…….

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

    You have quite an eye for detail Mr Oakes – amazing that you can note all that from a glance, but still give the road ahead your full attention – possibly that’s what the authorities are so concerned about, hence the mandatory protection required.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (7)

    I totally agree with Pat and I would like to add more. For various reasons I cover more than 20,000 miles a year on all types of public roads. I became frustrated enough to take a mental note of roadworks in north Staffordshire Cheshire and Lancashire and it was noted that more than 90% of the times I had passed road works no-one was working at all and only on a further 10% of the times was a very small fraction of the work force doing anything, the rest of the work force were standing around chatting or on their mobile phones. You may think that it just coincidence but the work force’s overalls are never even dirty.
    The traffic control systems are often over the top, even ridiculous. It is not unusual to see traffic lights holding up traffic where the actual work was being carried out several meters off the highway.
    It is quite obvious that the person responsible for the safety assessment is reacting well over the top, thinking more of his position that the basic needs of the workmen or the public.Can you tell me why the traffic lights always turn red as a vehicle approaches even when the motorist can see there is no-one on the other side of the road works? This is not necessary.

    elliott oakes, STOKE-ON-TRENT
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

    Whilst I am sure there are many instances where road workers are put at risk by motorists, Highways England would do well to put their own house in order to reduce driver frustration. Drivers see inefficient, inadequate and sometimes incompetent examples of traffic management resulting in needless additional delays

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (11) | Disagree (6)

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